THINGS TO DO
Explore Grand Rapids in its most infamous season.
Read more from local snowshoe enthusiast Tom Saxhaug.
Guest blogger, Tom Saxhaug, former Minnesota State Senator, shares some of his favorite snowshoeing locations in the Grand Rapids, MN area. Tom is passionate about snowshoeing, and loves sharing with others.
Snowshoeing in the winter in Northern Minnesota has the advantage of outdoor activity with no ticks and no mosquitos. Unlike snowshoeing in the mountains, we have no danger of avalanche, either! We don’t have to worry about what trails are safe, or what beacons to purchase should we fall prey to a snow slide.
Grand Rapids does not have mountains, however, we do have our vistas. There’s the top of Big Thunder at Sugar Hills, or the overlook at the top of the Tioga Mountain Biking Trail and one that I have mentioned in my previous writings. One can avoid the cross country ski tracks by heading south out of the north Suomi Trails parking lot and then following the signs. Don’t miss this wonderful view!
Another treat is snowshoeing next to a running creek on a beautiful winter day, traveling through old growth pine forests along the way. You’ll find all this on the county maintained Wabana Trail System. Stay to the left and off the ski tracks, and then follow the posted maps.
And finally, there’s Simpson Creek. According to the USDA forest Service’s website, “In 1907, Sam Simpson’s crew built the first tote roads and trails in the Cut Foot Sioux area. Today, this system makes up the 13-mile Simpson Creek Trail. Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp.” You can access the trails at the Cut foot Sioux Visitor Center or from Eagle Nest Road.
There are so many more treats for snowshoers in Itasca County – let me know what your favorites are: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information you can contact Tom:
For additional information regarding snowshoeing in the Grand Rapids area, check out our Grand Rapids Snowshoeing.
Beginner Level: Four miles of trails meander through a 1900’s logging camp, as well as pine forests along the Mississippi River. Best way to access off of Golf Course Road, take 14th Avenue and 1/4 mile down is a great parking lot and map kiosk. Stay off of the groomed single track cross country ski trail.
Intermediate Level: Located north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the buildings that make up the estate had been a retreat for Chicago’s Joyce family who were early loggers in the area. Enter from the north entrance that is plowed Take Sceni Byway 38 to Wabana Road to Spider Lake Road to County Road 326.
Advanced Level: The reward is a spectacular view. Bushwhack your way through the remnants of a 60s era ski area. Scaling the slopes will reward you with spectacular views. Stay off of the the single track groomed cross country ski trail.
Beginner to Advanced Level: Trails wind around the mining dump once used by Hanna Mining in their quest for iron ore. A few trails are challenging, but the snowshoer will be rewarded with excellent vistas overlooking surrounding lakes.
Advanced Level: The remote and stunning Suomi Hills has 19 miles of snowshoe, hiking, biking and ski trails and is part of a semi-primitive nonmotorized area. The rolling topography offers mountain bike trails for intermediate and advanced cyclists. Stay off of the groomed single track cross country ski trail.
Beginner Level: In 1907, Sam Simpson’s crew built the first tote roads and trails in the Cut Foot Sioux area. Today, this system makes up the 13-mile Simpson Creek Trail. Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. Access to the trail is located at the Cut Foot Sioux Visitors Center parking lot.
ntermediate Level: A beautiful area to snowshoe and cross country ski. Remember to stay off of the groomed single track cross country ski trail. Many loops to snowshoe. The Wabana County Trail offers skiers five loops to choose from within a mixed forest and wildflower sanctuary. Especially beautiful is the river loop that follows the Wabana Creek. Clearwater Lake lies to the south of the trail system. Wabana is one of two designated county wildflower sanctuaries. The Wabana Trail is located on county tax forfeited property that is managed for timber, wildlife, and dispersed recreational use by the County Land Department.